Focal points and yoga

In the yogic tradition (my experience is with Hatha yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar Method), there is a concept, “From one body and many mind, to many body and one mind.” Awareness of subtle movements within our hundreds of muscles and dozens of joints attuned with breathing brings scattered thoughts to a point. Yeah, that stubborn aching point in the hip!

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My mind has been on overdrive most of my life; racing, chasing, and rarely right here now. Not regretting yesterday’s choices, not concerned for what might happen tomorrow.


Tomorrow doesn’t really exist. Yesterday is just an illusion anyway; a collection of subjective memories. It is always today and today is the only thing we truly have power over. Successful members of twelve-step programs take the adage, “One Day at a Time,” to heart.

There’s nothing, in my experience, that forces focus like a good rocky scramble, steep snow field, or indoor climb at the gym. Each hold is checked and checked again; always three points of contact.  Foot, hand, foot or foot, foot, axe. Tired? Oh yeah, breathe. That helps.


Staged, this photo was. (Wait, that was yoDA, not yoGA). If my brother and I had been truly scrambling, no room would have been left in my mind for photo composition, blog topics, societal ills, or where I put my phone this time.

Too, there is something primal about using all four paws to travel.  It is a full body workout, a one-mind induction, and just like yoga, creates a special aliveness. Maybe that’s why dogs are so slap happy to be barrelling down the trail! And why there are the two fundamental poses: up-dog and down-dog!

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